10th December 2019, 08:15 | therfl

More young people enjoying team sport and much more to do

More young people enjoying team sport and much more to do

The Rugby Football League welcomes the new Active Lives Children and Young People report from Sport England which emphasises the importance of sport to children’s wellbeing, and a rise in participation in team sport since the previous report.

Headlines in the report show that almost half of children (in England) now take part in an average of 60 minutes of physical activity a day – up 3.6% from last year. The rise is driven by more children getting active outside of school – 57.2% of children and young people do an average of 30 minutes or more a day outside of school, compared to 40.4% at school. But there are considerable inequalities in the areas of family affluence, gender and race.

Ralph Rimmer, RFL CEO, says: “This report is welcome reading for all of us committed to making sport part of every child’s life. It is particularly good to see positive news about team sport. There is much more to do to support this and the RFL has been active with other leading sports in calling for more investment in community sports facilities alongside a commitment to an hour of sport a day, every day, in the national curriculum.

It’s also good news that half of children and young people (46.8%) are enjoying the recommended average of 60 or more minutes of physical activity a day – a welcome rise of 3.6% since last year. We need this to be all children – in particular those from low-income homes and children with disabilities.

Rugby League has strengths in areas of considerable socio-economic disadvantage with half of all activity in the top quartile of deprivation. The report reminds us that disadvantaged children are much less likely to be more active than those from more affluent families – this needs to change. Our sport is ideally placed to make that change happen and to do more we need more resource.

As Rugby League volunteers and parents can attest, active children are happier, more resilient and more trusting of others. It is also great to see the report highlight the positive association between being active and higher levels of mental wellbeing – this is a huge commitment of both the RFL and RLWC2021.

The Rugby League World Cup is inspiring more young people to get involved in 9s at school and the CreatedBY funding is improving community facilities. These are both massive opportunities for our sport and I urge schools and clubs to access these resources and funding.”


The RFL urges policy makers to:


  • Work with the RFL to develop a new Hub for Skills and Social Mobility through Rugby League
  • Make sport part of every school day for ALL children, including those with disabilities or other special educational needs. Make it part of the national curriculum
  • Invest in teacher training for specialist and non-specialist teachers
  • Invest in community sport and school sport facilities
  • Support schools to open their facilities in the evenings, weekends and holidays



The full Active Lives Children and Young People report